June 16, 2011
The species were all found in mountain forests: two came from to Mt. Tapulao in Zambales; two from Mt. Banahaw in Quezon; two from the Mingan Mountains in Aurora; and one from the Sierra Madre Mountains in northeastern Luzon.
The discoveries bring the number of native mammals known to occur in Luzon to 49.
"It is extraordinary that so many new species of mammals remain to be discovered in the Philippines," Danilo Balete, a scientist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the leader of the field team that found the rodents, was quoted as saying by the Philippine Inquirer. "In the past 10 years, we’ve published formal descriptions of ten other species, while other biologists have described five more."
New rodent species
The species are described in the May issue of Fieldiana. All the species belong of the genus Apomys: Apomys aurorae, Apomys banahao, Apomys brownorum, Apomys magnus, Apomys minganensis, Apomys sierrae and Apomys zambalensis.
The discoveries come shortly after the national government declared 2011-2020 the "Decade on Biodiversity" to promote conservation.
"The international community has recognized that our country has among the highest rates of discovery in the world," said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje in a statement. "Filipinos should be aware of such discoveries, to show a collective pride and give a more positive meaning to the expression, 'only in the Philippines.'"